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CR 47:201-205 (2011)  -  DOI:

Migration, moult and climate change in barn swallows Hirundo rustica in South Africa

Anders Pape Møller1,*, Rick Nuttall2, Steven E. Piper3,†, Tibor Szép4, Edward J. Vickers5

1Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud, Bâtiment 362,
91405 Orsay Cedex, France
2National Museum, PO Box 266, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
3School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
4Institute of Environmental Science, College of Nyíregyháza, PO Box 166, 4401 Nyíregyháza, Hungary
5Mount Moreland, Durban, South Africa
Deceased 2009

ABSTRACT: Phenological change in long-distance migratory birds has responded less to climate change than that in short-distance migrants and residents. A general lack of information about the timing of migration in the winter quarters has prevented progress in interpreting the causes. Here we report long-term information on first arrival of barn swallows Hirundo rustica to—and last departure from—a major roost in South Africa during 1993–2010, a period when climate change at the breeding grounds was particularly pronounced. Although first arrival in autumn advanced by more than 2 wk, there was a tendency for a delay in last departure during spring, suggesting that cues for earlier spring departure from the winter quarters were missing. During 1999–2009, timing of moult was delayed, which may explain why spring migration by trans-Saharan migratory birds did not advance in this period.

KEY WORDS: Arrival date · Departure date · Long-distance migrant · Moult score

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Cite this article as: Møller AP, Nuttall R, Piper SE, Szép T, Vickers EJ (2011) Migration, moult and climate change in barn swallows Hirundo rustica in South Africa. Clim Res 47:201-205.

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